Shiites Compromise With Sunnis Over

Shiites Compromise with Sunnis over Constitution Drafting Committee

al-Sharq al-Awsat and AFP Jawad Maliki, the deputy leader of the Da`wa Party led by Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari, affirmed yesterday that the parliamentary constitution-drafting committee agreed to increase the number of Sunni Arab members to 25. Of these, 10 would be non-voting advisors. Initially, Shiites in parliament were offering the Sunnis only 2 voting members on the committee and another 13 advisory members. Maliki admitted that the 10 advisory members “will not play a big role in the discussions.”

Salih al-Mutlaq of the Iraqi National Dialogue Council (a Sunni organization) said, “The Sunni parties will immediately begin choosing the 13 new members and the 10 advisors on the committee.” He added, “The advisors are experts who will draft the constitution, and the members will supervise them.” He explained that the Sunni parties attending the meeting compirsed the Dialogue Council, the Nationalist Tendency, the Reform Party, the Ninevah Front, the Iraqi Islamic Party led by Muhsin Abdul Hamid, and the Sunni Pious Endowments Bureau led by Adnan Dulaimi.

Mutlaq entered a caveat. “Even so,” he said, “the constitution is not heading in a direction that benefits Iraq and the Sunnis . . . the constitution is heading in the direction of federalism, and we oppose federalism.”

Dr. Fu’ad Masoum, the vice-chair of the constitution drafting committee, said that it would begin its work next week. Another member of the 70-member committee, Dr. Qasim Da’ud, said that the constitution would be drafted by consensus rather than by a simple yes or no vote.

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